The Algarve is a magical place to go on holiday, and Lagos is one of my favourite destinations there. Situated on the south coast of Portugal, the Algarve is the Portuguese version of the Costa del Sol; sunny, touristy, and perfect for a laid-back vacation.
Lagos is a small city in the western part of the Algarve, a little more relaxed than the bustling towns of Faro and Albufeira. It has a heavy footfall of tourists, but many of them are Portuguese and European (in other parts of the Algarve, you get more tourists from around the world).
The city is still quite contained within the Old Town, but there are smaller areas and suburbs along the coast if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Despite its fairly small size, there is a huge range of things to do in Lagos. From cave tours by boat to jeep safaris, there is something for everyone. Lagos also has a huge marina that is both beautiful to admire and incredibly useful.
Tour companies line up down the dock, offering you experiences you’d never even have thought of. It’s also full of lovely bars and restaurants, so it’s a win if you’re not sure what you’re looking for! Lagos also has many incredible beaches, adjoined by unique rock formations carved by treacherous Atlantic waves and the soft limestone that makes up a large part of the Algarve coastline.
We will cover off all types of Lagos accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Lagos hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Lagos Portugal 2024, the best Lagos hotels, best places in Lagos to visit, the best places to stay in Lagos, hotels near Lagos attractions, Lagos neighborhood guide and many more.
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Lagos Old Town – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for the Culture
Lagos Old Town, also known as the historical centre of Lagos, has existed since the 15th century. This is quite apparent in the nature of the winding streets and the city’s mediaeval architecture, as well as the city walls built to keep out invading Moorish and European pirates.
There is an abundance of patterned tiles, both on the streets and buildings, quintessentially Portuguese and beautiful to admire. Staying in Lagos Old Town is almost like going back in time.
Right there in the centre you can also find the Arab-built Castelo de Lagos and an impressive number of other historical sites. For such a small city centre, Lagos has a lot to offer, and the Old Town is a great place to stay if you want to see a lot and walk a little.
You’ll find several impressively-decorated churches (thanks to the riches of returning explorers who would pray there before their departure), amuseum documenting the first slave market in Europe, and even a real fortress right there on the sea front.
As well as great access to so many historical wonders, you also have a vibrant array of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants on your doorstep, and immediate access to the beach. There is no shortage of apartments and hotels in Old Town Lagos.
Where to Stay in Lagos Old Town
Lagos Marina – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for a Touristy Vibe
As you may have guessed from the name, Lagos Marina is perfect for anyone who wants to be close to the action, but especially in boating and watersports.
The marina is beautiful, and in a great location, just ten minutes walk from the Old Town and close to several beaches.
Here you have a great range of hotels for any budget, and a relaxed holiday atmosphere to go along with them. Behind the rows of tour guides waiting to take you on your next adventure are a huge range of open, glass-front restaurants, so you’ll get the view whether you sit inside or out.
Great for breakfast or a laid-back lunch, you can soak up everything Lagos has to offer from the top of this towering building. By night, Lagos Marina becomes a little more stylish, with many of the bars offering cocktails and live music.
Where to Stay in Lagos Marina
Batata Beach – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for Nightlife
Batata Beach (Praia de Batata) is the closest beach to Lagos Old Town, meaning that although it is quite small, it sees the most action. If you want to get in on late nights and beach parties, Batata Beach is the perfect area for you.
Packed with beach bars, shops and tourist-tailored restaurants, it will completely fulfil your expectations of an inner city beach. In addition, it’s so close to the rest of Lagos that you can easily explore the Old Town and the Marina within easy walking distance.
During the day, Praia de Batata boasts idyllic sandy beaches and the incredible cliff views you’ll come to expect of the Algarve.
The waters on this beach are unusually calm, too, thanks to the shape of the bay which protects you from the strong Atlantic current. This lends itself to days of stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling, if you’re not too tired from the late nights.
Of course, having everything you could want so close to the city centre does come with its disadvantages.
This beach gets very busy, especially during the summer, which isn’t everyone’s idea of heaven. Prices are generally a little higher than in surrounding areas, too, but it’s all worth it if Praia de Batata has what you’re looking for in an Algarve vacation.
Where to Stay in Batata Beach
Meia Praia Beach – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal with Family
Meia Praia is one of the longest beaches in the area, stretching over 4 kilometres! It is just north of Lagos, a four minute train or ten minute bus ride away (or just under an hour’s walk, if you’re feeling active!).
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city and designed for tourists, this area is perfect for young families, or anyone looking for a relaxing beach holiday. There is also a range of activities in this area, including Parque Aventura Lagos, an adventure park for families.
The beach itself is lined with a peaceful promenade, on which you’ll find bars, shops and cafes set amongst masses of sweet-smelling trees and greenery. The curved shape of the bay also protects the waters here from harsh waves, and they are manned with lifeguards during the summer.
The water is shallow and gets gradually steeper with no sudden drops. Not only does this give you peace of mind taking children onto the beach, it also offers ideal conditions for snorkelling and paddle boarding, especially for the little ones!
Behind Meia Praia beach you’ll find the suburb of Meia Praia, full of luxurious high-rise hotels and holiday apartment lets. Just like the rest of Lagos, this area is incredibly safe and well lit at night.
Where to Stay in Meia Praia beach
Dona Ana Beach – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for A Bit of Everything
Although smaller than Meia Praia, Dona Ana Beach (Praia Dona Ana) may be mightier. This is where you’ll find the incredible towering limestone cliffs and fierce Atlantic waves that this end of the Algarve is known for.
Depending on the time of year the waves can be fairly tame, or they can be big enough to attract professional surfers, so beware that around here it is occasionally too dangerous to get into the water!
This beach is only accessible by a steep set of stairs, so Dona Ana gets 10/10 for views and adventures, but doesn’t score so well on accessibility.
Praia Dona Ana is also a great area to stay in if you want easy access to the outdoors. Many hiking trails will take you this side of Lagos, and it is also a little closer to the famous Ponta da Piedade.
Although it’s outside of the city centre, it is quite touristy, meaning there are still plenty of activities, bars and restaurants to do around this area.
All in all, Dona Ana is a great all-rounder!
Where to Stay in Dona Ana Beach
Camilo Beach – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for the Outdoors
Camilo beach is less than half an hours’ walk outside of Lagos Old Town, around half way between the city centre and Ponta da Piedade.
Again, thanks to the luxurious landscape of Lagos, the beach here is only accessible by a steep (slightly precarious looking) staircase, home to almost 200 steps!
It’s all worth it to reach the secluded turquoise waters and stunning natural surroundings of Praia do Camilo, but this area is definitely for the more active amongst travellers.
It also joins many others in the well-known group of small beaches along this coast that are connected by tunnels and archways burrowed into the limestone.
You can duck through passages and emerge onto the next beach, and then another, and then another. It is a truly magical experience, but watch out for the tides before you go!
This area is great if you’re looking to get outdoors and keep away from the busy city centre, whilst keeping close proximity to the amenities.
Where to Stay in Camilo beach
Porto de Mós – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal for Surfing
Porto de Mós is a village just outside of Lagos, with direct access to one of the Algarve’s best surfing beaches.
With the strong winds and waves coming in from the Atlantic (that I can’t seem to stop mentioning) this long, secluded section of beach is perfect for surfers from beginners to advanced. You can also swim in this area, depending on the size of the waves, take a kayak tour, or even do a clifftop hiking trail.
There is plenty in Porto de Mós, including restaurants, hotels, all-inclusives and shops, meaning you won’t have to venture into Lagos every time you want to buy something. There is also a shop where you can rent equipment to do watersports, an amazing viewpoint, and even a restaurant overlooking the incredible view.
Although it would be difficult to walk into Lagos from here, a regular bus service will take you into the city and taxis are not expensive.
Where to Stay in Porto de Mós
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in
Porto de Mós
Alvor – Where to stay in Lagos Portugal in the Suburbs
Alvor is a small suburb outside of Lagos, on the other side of the bay from Meia Praia. As well as being well-connected to Lagos, Alvor has its own historical town centre, complete with a castle! Alvor is quieter and more relaxed than Lagos, and relatively untouched by tourists.
That being said, it does have strong connections to Portimão as well as Lagos, meaning as long as you’re willing to travel, you’ll never be short of something to do.
There are two great beaches in Alvor; Praia do Alvor, within walking distance of the historical centre, and Praia dos Três Trmãos, (three brothers’ beach), slightly further towards Portimão.
Praia do Alvor is just one long stretch of white beach, perfect for a day relaxing or taking part in watersports. Praia dos Três Irmãos is more secluded, and has yet more of the typical limestone cliff faces the Algarve is known for.
Where to Stay in Alvor
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in
Ria Hostel Alvor